Learn English about Affixes (prefixes and suffixes) in English.

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More work with English affixes!

In our video which you can watch HERE, we introduced affixes—which are meaningful groups of letters which can come at the beginning or the end of an English word to change its meaning. If the group of letters comes at the beginning of the word, we call it a prefix, and if it comes at the end, we call it a suffix.

This worksheet has reminders of the prefixes and suffixes covered in our video plus additional examples of each (40 in all). At the end of each section we’ve grouped all the prefixes and suffixes together in a short chart for easy memorization. Then at the end we have some practice questions for you to see how well you can use affixes to improve your vocabulary.


The video introduced the following prefixes:

In- not Incredible = not believable

Indecisive = not able to make a decision

Re- again Reapply = to apply again (for something)

Reword = to say something again using different words

Pre- before Pre-record = to record something ahead of time or before

Pre-determine = to determine something before the evidence

Sub- under Submarine = underwater vehicle

Substandard = below a normal level of quality

Ex- out of Extract = to pull something out of

Expend = to use up energy or resources

Tri- three Tricolor = having three colors

Tripod = a stand with three legs

Micro- small Microscope = a device to see very small things

Microorganism = a very small living thing

There are hundreds of prefixes in English, so we can’t cover them all. Also, some prefixes can have the same meaning but work with different words. For example, UN- means “not” (just like IN-) but goes with different words like “unbelievable” and “unimagined.”

As you study more about prefixes, you will learn more about how and when to use them as well as what they mean. For this worksheet, let’s take a look at some more prefixes which each have different meanings from the ones we’ve already shown you.

First, we’ll explain some new prefixes and what they mean. After the introductions we’ll include a chart showing you all 20 prefixes, their meaning, and an example in one handy location.

Let’s start with UNI-. Just like TRI- means three of something, UNI- means one of something. A uniform is clothes people wear so that they all have one look (one form). A unicycle is like a bicycle, but with only one wheel. (You can probably guess that BI- means two!)

And just like MICRO- means something small, MACRO- is a prefix meaning something large. So, macroeconomics is the study of economics of large things like nations or the global market. A macro-organism is a large organism—one that you can see with just your eyes.

And just like PRE- means before, POST- is a prefix meaning after. So, a post-facto decision is a decision made after the facts or after an event has happened. A postscript is writing added at the end of a letter or message.

The prefix INTER- means between. To interpret means to go between different languages (usually changing a speech from one language into another). To interrupt means to come in the middle of someone else’s conversation.

The prefix EXTRA- means more than. If something is extraordinary it is more than or beyond what is ordinary or normal. If someone is extra-sensitive they are more emotional or more responsive in their five senses than other people.

ANTI- means against. Someone who is anti-authority is against authority (usually meaning they don’t like being told what to do). Antipathy is a strong feeling against someone or something else. If you really dislike someone you might say you have antipathy for that person.

DIS- means the opposite of. To dislike something means the opposite of liking it (i.e., hating it). This can sometimes be a more polite way to express yourself, since saying “I dislike fruit” usually sounds milder than saying “I hate fruit.” Another example is disappear, which means to vanish. To appear means to come into view or come into sight, so the opposite of that means going out of sight or out of view.

The prefix CO- means with. So, a co-author is someone who wrote something with someone else. A correspondent speaks with others.

MIS- means something done wrongly. If a package is mislabeled it has been given the wrong label. If you misname someone you give them the wrong name.

POLY- means many. A polymath is someone who has knowledge of many different subjects. A polygon is a geometric figure with many sides or angles. A square is a polygon.

The prefix SUPER- means above. So, the character Superman is someone who has powers above what normal human beings have. And if you superimpose an image that means you put the image above or on top of another image.

OVER- means too much. Someone who overeats eats too much food. If you order too many things for your company, you make an overorder.

Our last prefix is AUTO-, which means self. An automobile is a vehicle which drives itself (as long as someone is operating it). Something that is automatic works on its own without the need for more input.

Use the prefix chart below for a quick reminder.


The brother of the prefix is the suffix, which are the letters which come at the end of a word which can change its meaning.

Our video showed you the following suffixes:

-ness state of being kindness, helpfulness

-ly a quality quickly, nicely

-ment a condition placement, shipment

-ology the study/science of Biology, Psychology

-itis an inflammation sinusitis, bronchitis

-able able to be habitable, inaudible

As with prefixes, there are hundreds of suffixes in English. We’ve chosen a few pretty common ones to give you here.

The suffix -LESS means without. If you are hopeless, you are without any hope. And if you are friendless it means you don’t have any friends.

The suffix -FUL, on the other hand, means that something is notable for having the quality of the word it is attached to. So, a helpful person is a person who is notable for helping out others. A forgetful person tends to forget things a lot.

The suffix -ER or -OR is often added to words (especially verbs) to create a noun meaning a person who does the verb which has been changed. A teacher is a person who teaches. A recruiter is one who recruits others. A vendor is a person who vends (which means sells) things.

A lot of suffixes mean a state or quality. -HOOD is another example of such a suffix. Motherhood is the state of being a mother. Livelihood is the quality of helping you earn your living.

Another state or quality suffix is -SION / -TION. To suppress something means to keep it held down or in check. So, suppression is a state or quality of being kept down. To evacuate means to leave a place. An evacuation is a state where people are being made to leave.

We use the suffix -IVE to indicate that something has the quality of the word with this suffix. It’s one way that verbs can be changed into adjectives. For example, to respond means to reply to or answer something. And something or someone who is responsive is someone who will reply or answer when needed. To execute can mean to carry out actions or deliver orders, and a person who is an executive will be one who gives orders to others.

The suffix -WARD or -WARDS is used to indicate direction. If you are moving towards something you are moving to it. Backwards means moving back. Something which is forward is to the fore or front. And something rearward is to the rear or back.

The suffix -SHIP indicates a position held. The “position” doesn’t have to be official. For example, friendship means having the position of friend. A professorship is a position (usually at a university) as a professor.

-IC or -ICAL is a suffix meaning to have the form of. Musical means having the form of music. Tragic means having the character of tragedy, meaning a cautionary story about human weakness or failure.

We use -FY as a suffix meaning to make something. When we codify something, we put it into a legal or official code. When we magnify something, we make it larger or bigger.

The suffix -ESQUE means similar to or familiar to. So, a statuesque beauty is someone whose beauty is like a statue (meaning it appears to be perfectly formed and sculpted). Picturesque means like a picture or like something we would want to take a picture of.

-PHILE is used to indicate a lover of the word to which the suffix is attached. A cinephile is a person who loves cinema (movies). An Anglophile loves the British people or the English language.

Somewhat opposite to the previous entry, -PHOBIA means a fear of something. Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders (“arachne” is another name for spider). Germophobia is a fear of germs.

Our last suffix is -METER, which indicates a measurement or a measuring device. A thermometer measures temperature, and a chronometer measures time (“chrono” is a prefix indicating time).

Use the suffix chart below for a quick reminder:


Use your new knowledge of affixes to guess the meaning of the following words (answers are at the end).

1) Antisocial most nearly means

a) someone who is too sociable

b) someone who has been wronged by society

c) someone who is above you in the social order

d) someone who doesn’t like being sociable with others

2) A unisex outfit is

a) clothing you wear after marriage

b) clothing which has the same logos or design

c) clothing appropriate for either men or women

d) clothing which is too large for either men or women

3) An automaton is

a) a machine which operates itself

b) a math problem which can’t be solved

c) a person who manages himself carefully

d) a device which does the opposite of what you want

4) Micromanage most nearly means

a) to manage in an ineffective way

b) to manage incorrectly or wrongly

c) to manage very small and unimportant details

d) to manage only the larger aspects of a business.

5) An incessant sound is one that

a) is too loud

b) does not stop

c) comes afterwards

d) comes with another

6) An impressive act is one which

a) people hate

b) people ignore

c) people admire

d) people think about

7) Afterward most nearly means

a) being late

b) helping out

c) coming next

d) moving away

8) A narrator is

a) someone who measures

b) someone who tells a story

c) someone who holds a position

d) someone who is notable for some reason

9) Ownership most nearly means

a) having

b) desiring

c) like an owner

d) loving to own

10) A lawless place is one

a) without laws

b) full of lawyers

c) studying the law

d) in a state of legality


1) d, 2) c, 3) a, 4) d, 5) b 6) c, 7) c, 8) b, 9) a, 10) a

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Teachers: Danny, Sarah, John, Dan

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